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The truck driver shortage is showing no signs of stopping any time soon. In order to fill the open jobs, the pool of drivers needs to find ways to grow. This is attracting many new job seekers to enter this hot job market. Women are entering training programs and getting their CDL endorsements. So, for women truck drivers seeking their first trucking job, what can they expect?

Training is Important

Women trucker drivers go through the same training and licensing requirements as men do. The difference might be that women might look for programs that have women included in their advertising, websites, and in their list of instructors or staff. Or even a program that has a course specifically geared towards women. This might differentiate a school that will offer a program that will be a better fit for a woman entering the industry vs. one that doesn’t feel welcoming or respectful of women in a trucking job.

Male-Dominated

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up about 6.6% of all truck drivers. And that number has been fairly steady (4.5% – 6%) over the past 15 years. Something women truckers can expect to find is that it is a still a HIGHLY male-dominated profession. Women truck drivers might frequently find that she’s the only female trucker at a truck stop. And she could be the only one in the lot waiting on loads where all the other drivers are men. Women trucker drivers also find that truck stop showers and parking lots might be places to use extra caution at night.

Physical Job

Life on the road is a physical job, and it’s important to stay healthy. Part of that is being prepared for the physical demands of the job as well as the mental aspects as well. Many of the today’s trucks have features and improvements that make them easier to drive and maintain.

But there are other aspects of the jobs that demand women truck drivers stay in good shape. Cleaning out trailers, moving loads around, covering and tacking down cargo, are all things a driver might have to do daily. And this job can be very stressful, so maintaining your mental health is important too. You can find a great ebook resource for staying healthy on the road here.

Whether it’s the lure of the freedom of driving a big rig along miles of open road after years at a desk job, or a change of pace once the kids have moved out, being a CDL truck driver can be a great career for a woman. If you’re looking for a perfect fit truck driving job for you, start here and complete a profile. You can list all your driving preferences and we can help match you with an opportunity tailored specifically to you.

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For Tiffany Adams, being a truck driver runs in the family. “My dad was a truck driver, so it’s in the family blood”. Though she tried a few things prior to getting into the trucking business officially, since age 21, “trucking was the only way to go” for her.

Tiffany’s favorite route to drive is “I-24 going through Kentucky.

It’s the most beautiful run anyone could ever do.” The summertime bluegrass lined roads all around Paducah are her favorite.  She recommends a stop at Patti’s Settlement 1880’s restaurant if you’re in the neighborhood. A stop at Patti’s “definitely should be on your to-do list if you’re in the area”.

After a normal day of 10-11 hours, she mentions a struggle that she’s advocating for: MORE PARKING.


“The daily struggles today we have is parking. Parking is so limited to the truck stops that we have across the nation, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find parking after 5 pm. And it’s just getting worse. It’s getting to the point you can’t find parking, and you need to drive 20+ miles out of your route just to find a place park”.

She hopes that in the future there’s expanded parking available at truck stops and rest stops around the country.

Tiffany drives with her husband Weston.

You can find them passing the time “listening to a lot of country music while we’re riding down the highway”.

When they’re not out on the road or getting ready for their next long-haul, they enjoy spending time playing with their horses, their family and hanging out with friends. “We love what we do we provide for our states, building supplies, rail road supplies, your every day needs”.

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The growing shortage of empty driver jobs impact everything from rate hikes to product prices. In other words, fewer drivers means it costs more to transport goods, resulting in a pricing increase for manufacturers that gets passed on to consumers.

Solutions and suggestions for how to fill empty driver jobs range from pay increases to more shared routes between drivers. Also, individuals talk about how exactly to draw millennials to the field. This would replace the retiring baby boomers and those uninterested in coping with recent ELD changes.

Writer and millennial Nicole Spector, took a ride as part of her assignment with an experienced UPS driver, Becky Ascencio. The pair shared a 12-hour shift, traveling from Sylmar to Fresno, Ca.

Ultimately, Spector won’t joining the 7% of women driving big rigs. However, she understood what the job requires. In addition, she also understood exactly how much work is involved. Lastly, Spector learned what it means to love your job.

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women in trucking

On March 24, Women in Trucking gifted a 2014 Volvo VNL670 to Tiffany Hanna, a second-generation female truck driver.

Hanna is a former Navy vet and current instructor at Prime, Inc., a truck driving training school. She has five children. In addition, the giveaway took place at the Mid America Trucking Show.

Arrow Truck Sales donated the truck, worth $55,000. Women in Trucking CEO Ellen Voie awarded the truck to Hanna, noting “We are thrilled to hand over the keys to Tiffany, who has been an advocate for women in the trucking industry by mentoring and supporting the women and men at Prime, Inc. This is truly the chance of a lifetime, thanks to Arrow Truck Sales and their very generous donation.”

Also, the truck rocks new tires, a mattress topper, free gasoline, and other amenities, bring its total value to $75,000. Learn more about this giveaway and the other exciting things that Women and Trucking is doing to encourage young girls and women to enter the transportation industry.

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The driver shortage could be addressed by a progressive program for obtaining a CDL plus a lowered legal age for state line crossings. This could also help draw more millennials into driving for the freight transport industry, reports Nicole Spector for NBC in the following article.

In addition, low numbers of female drivers contribute to the industry driver shortage. Even seemingly popular companies like UPS struggle with this issue. UBS trucks generally pose no mechanical obstacles for women. However, the issue of personal safety continues to plague those tasked with uncertain delivery locales.

Finally, a fresh assessment of the future of autonomous vehicles and their impact on drivers.

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Walmart truck driver Carol Nixon shares a special story of determination and generosity. Her story inspires us entering into 2018 and helps us set goals for the year.

Carol Nixon, 48, of St. James, Mo., drove since 1990. Over the past five years, she has worked as an over-the-road driver for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. In February of 2015 she met Deb Pollard, a fellow truck driver for Walmart. Fate brought together again in September of that year as roommates at the first annual Accelerate Conference sponsored by the Women in Trucking Association.

In addition, Deb shared that her husband Craig suffered from kidney failure and dialysis. The couple searched tirelessly for a donor, but unfortunately failed to receive a result. Then, Carol offered her kidney without a moment’s hesitation. “I didn’t even think about it,” Carol said. “I told her, ‘please, take it!’”

While both seemed the perfect match for the transplant, their journey included challenges. Carol stopped driving for three months prior to the donation due to dizziness. Doctors initially thought heart problems caused this. However, they realized they were migraines, and she received permission to donate her kidney again. Meanwhile, doctors at the University of Alabama hospital found that Craig suffered from blockage that could have killed him.  Finally, after these hurdles, the transplant took place and completed successfully in November of 2016.

Despite the challenges they faced, Carol never wavered in her decision to donate her kidney.

Even if she failed to match for Craig, she agreed to still donate her kidney to another recipient through the Kidney Paired Donation Pilot Program. The program matches medically compatible pairs of potential living kidney donors with transplant candidates. In cases where the potential donor doesn’t match with his or her original intended recipient.

When asked what drove her to donate despite all the challenges she replied “Perseverance.  When you’re told no, just keep pushing.”

With the transplant behind them, both Carol and Craig are doing well.  Craig immediately came off dialysis after the surgery and remained diligent about following his post-surgery protocol. Carol took six weeks off of work to recover. However, drives again now and stays healthy on the road by preparing meals for the road. She also walks three miles daily, whether at home or on the road.  When she’s home she and her husband spend time restoring their vintage cars and hanging out with her grandson.

Carol now adds raising awareness for organ donation to her growing list of charities that she supports.  At the November 2017 Accelerate Conference, she met the aunt of a young girl whose tissue donation gave two people the gift of sight. She also met the mother of a young girl in her community whose organ donations helped save the lives of five people.

Both of these girls received a floragraph on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade on January 1, 2018.

The Donate Life float honors millions of people touched by organ, eye and tissue donation. These include living donors, donor families, transplant recipients and transplant candidates.  The stories of these young girls further inspired Carol to share her own story. Her hope is her story raises awareness for organ donation.

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Heather Hogeland never aspired to be a truck driver. She grew up the middle of three girls, the tomboy of the bunch.

“In the ‘60s and ‘70s, girls didn’t dream about driving a truck,” she says.But her father, Robert, had an owner operator trucking job, so Hogeland was destined for the same career all along. It was her father who taught her how to drive a truck—and he taught her well. In 1976 at the tender age of 19, Hogeland got a CDL trucking job.

In looking at Hogeland’s life, she followed in her father’s footsteps—and her mother followed in hers.“I was an inspiration to her, not the other way around. That’s kind of unique,” Hogeland says of her mother, Doreen, who took up truck driving in her 50s. “I couldn’t have done it without her, because she raised my son for me.”

Heather and Roger in 1983

Mom takes up truck driving

Hogeland and her husband, Roger, are retired team drivers who have been married for 33 years. In their heyday, they ran hard from south to north and everywhere in-between.

Doreen observed their lifestyle from afar and wanted in on it. “She saw Roger and me and thougt she wanted to do it too,” Hogeland says. “My dad was shocked. He wasn’t real happy with the plan.”

By the early 1990s, Doreen came into an inheritance. She used it to make a down payment on a brand new Volvo truck. And despite her husband’s protests, in 1992, Doreen earned her CDL permit and started driving. Leased through Countrywide, a reefer carrier out of southern California, and later to Southern Star Transport, Doreen and Robert began running team together up to Toronto, Ontario.

Doreen Drove With Her Furry Companion

Great memories

While Robert and Doreen rarely ran with their daughter and son-in-law, but it was a wild time when they ran together. Hogeland recalls the tales with a laugh.

“Mom and I were running down the road one night, Mom was following me and we were speeding,” Hogeland recalls. “People would say things over the radio and we would have fun. I’d say, ‘Watch your language, my momma is right behind me!’ And my dad would shout to my mom, ‘Do you know how fast you’re going?’ I love the funny memories.”

Hogeland also recalls that her mother’s sense of direction lacked. “My mom got lost going into Cleveland every time,” Hogeland says. “And she ran into Cleveland every week. My dad would drive with her and he never got any sleep because she got lost. Following directions wasn’t one of her priorities.”

Doreen passed away in 2005 at age 69.

Hogeland reminisces about her warmly even now, recalling her as a woman who never met a stranger. Who located stragglers at truck stops and invited them home for dinner. Who always put family first.

“I’m so grateful for those times that we had,” Hogeland says. “My mom taught us that humans aren’t perfect, but they are human. She was about as imperfect as they come, but she taught me how to forgive. And that’s one of the most important lessons you learn in this world.”

To celebrate Mother’s Day we want to know if your trucking job brought you closer to a parent, too? Connect with us here and share your story.

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My, how times have changed! When I started driving in the early 1980s, trucks were so different than they are today. I can recall taking my driving exam. The examiner checked to make sure the lights worked and the truck actually had a seatbelt (the truck was used for tests because it was the only one that had a seatbelt that worked).

When I look back at my career, I marvel at all the ways trucks and truck stops have changed, particularly as more women have entered the trucking business. Here are my 6 favorite ways the industry has changed to accept, accommodate and acknowledge women.

Truck seats

Deb, who worked for a small oil field fleet where my husband, Bob, worked, taught me to drive an old two-stick Mack pulling an unbaffled water trailer. In those days, I had to carry a pillow with me when I knew I was going to drive. I used it to prop myself up. After all, the seat did not move and I could not reach the pedals without it.

It also was an amazing feat to use the mirrors. They were stationary, so we ladies had to adjust our bodies and necks to use them. In other words, we adjusted to the truck—the truck didn’t adjust to us.

But in 2017, within seconds I can adjust our truck seats from my husband’s position (He’s 6’3”) to one that suits me (I’m 5’4”). Even the vents for heating and cooling can be repositioned so that I am comfortable.

Truck hoods

In the 1980s, opening the hood took a supreme effort. A smaller-statured woman could often be seen dangling from the hood ornament trying to leverage her body to get the hood to move. Now with one hand, today’s hoods can be easily opened and closed by men and women alike.

Truck stop showers

While I do not go way back using truck stops, I know they have improved a lot since 2000. To me, the best parts are the showers and laundry rooms. Most of the truck stop chains have upgraded their showers to include better lighting and homey touches such as flowers and nice pictures on the walls. Many of the upgraded showers include lights in the shower as well as nice benches that make it a lot easier for women to see and shave our legs.

Bob and I favor the TA/Petro truck stops because they have in all their showers two bath towels, one hand cloth and one small towel, as well as a towel for the floor. The showerheads have been updated to the bigger showerheads, too, which make showering a blissful experience at times.

Truck stop public restrooms

Most notably, restrooms now have homey touches such as pictures and flowers. They often are decorated for the holidays, too. Many restrooms also have added a soap dispenser that has an abrasive cleaner for when we ladies have had our hands in oil and grease. Men have had this additional soap dispenser for years, but it is a recent addition to ladies restrooms.

It seems to be a humorous dichotomy, having the feminine decorating touches on one hand and the abrasive soap to get our hands cleaner on the other. But both are needed improvements.

Truck stop laundry rooms

In trucking’s earlier days, many of the smaller truck stops did not have laundry rooms. If they did, they consisted of one washer and dryer crammed into a small closet. Today, however, it is pretty common to see front-load washers and dryers, a table to fold clothes on and even a bar for hanging clothes.

The best upgrade is the ability for drivers to use our debit cards and receive a text alert when the washer or dryer is done. No longer must we carry quarters around or save every quarter we get back in change in a little baggy to be taken in with the laundry soap. We are able to start our clothes, set up the text alert and enjoy a nice meal while we wait.

Truck stop lighting

The lighting is a lot better in the truck stop parking areas today. That has made it safer for all, especially for women walking alone. I see women in all areas of trucking and they are getting the job done. We might not all do the job the same way, but we all reach the same goal: We move freight. I cannot think of a better way for women to make a living than what we are doing in trucking right now.

Linda Caffee is a team driver for Caffee Enterprises and president of Trucker Buddy International. She has worked as a full-time truck driver since 2005 and is an avid blogger. Follow her at Team Run Smart, The Onspot Blog and Expediters Online.

March is Women’s History Month. Drive My Way is proud to highlight women in the trucking industry who inspire and lead by their example. Join our community here to get these and all of Drive My Way’s stories in your newsfeed.

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The accomplishments of one woman who has a CDL trucking job

“I got a message from my boss that said ‘Hey, you made the billboard,” recalls J.B. Hunt driver Jodi Edwards with a laugh. “The company had put my picture on a billboard to advertise people coming to work for them. I thought that was pretty cool.”

A 20-year veteran woman truck driver and trainer with J.B. Hunt, Jodi Edwards is living her dream. And with more than a million safe miles under her belt, she’s as accomplished as she is enthusiastic about her career. After all, J.B. Hunt has even put her face on a billboard. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.

At J.B. Hunt, Edwards is a star, and she’s earned many accolades throughout her driving career. She’s on the Women in Trucking Image Team. She was part of a panel discussion at the Women in Trucking Accelerate! Conference in November. She was even a Woman in Trucking Member of the Month.

All of the awards are gratifying, Edwards says. But she’s proudest of her Million Mile Award.

“That’s a heck of an achievement,” Edwards says. Edwards attributes her stellar safety record to J.B. Hunt’s strong safety culture and the Smith safety system the company uses. J.B. Hunt drivers go through Smith System safety training every two years.

The system focuses on creating distance between yourself and other vehicles on the road.

“You want to have so many seconds of distance between you and what’s in front of you,” Edwards says. “They want you to know what’s in front of you and to keep space around you all the time. It gives you time to react and make changes, to slow down, stop or find a way around the problem. For myself, I keep as much of a space cushion around my truck as I can. I try not to travel in packs because if someone is going to screw up, it gives me time to stop.”

When she earned her Million Mile Award, J.B. Hunt awarded Edwards with a plaque, a watch, a $5,000 bonus and patches for her uniform. It made her feel special. “When you have these milestones, they really make a big deal of it,” Edwards says. “They really go above and beyond.”

Working on and off the road

Edwards runs intermodal for J.B. Hunt. She’s seen the division grow from three drivers 19 years ago to 35 drivers today. She runs from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. While her son is 23 years old now, the schedule long gave Edwards the flexibility to be a hands-on mom.

“When my son was in school I could go to all his baseball games, wrestling matches and basketball games,” she says. “For me, when I need to do something for my family, I talk to my boss and I’m good to go. At J.B. Hunt, they know you by name. That’s important to me. It’s a great company to work for. That’s why I’ve never wanted to go anywhere else.”

Advice for other female drivers

While Edwards is an unofficial ambassador for J.B. Hunt through her love of her job, she also is quick to support fellow women drivers whenever she has the opportunity. To women just starting out, she recommends finding a highly rated trucking school.

“Have them teach you something,” she says. “Always be safe but allow yourself to enjoy it, too. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re by yourself in a dark parking lot. Take care of what you got to take care of in the light of day. If you’re going to do it, do it right. And find yourself a good company you can stay with. Because it’s not just a job, it’s a career.”

It certainly is for Edwards. She plans to stay with J.B. Hunt until she retires.

“I’m happy here,” she says.

In honor of Women’s History Month. Drive My Way is highlighting women in the trucking industry who inspire and lead by their example. Join our community here to get these and all Drive My Way’s stories in your newsfeed.

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The Women in Trucking Accelerate! Conference and Expo runs from Nov. 7-9 in Dallas, Texas. The conference strives to bring gender diversity to the trucking industry and show how diversity can positively impact a driver’s career and a company’s success.

Several Women in Trucking members will be on hand at the conference, including trucking companies, truck driving schools, manufacturers, health and wellness businesses and more.

First, the conference kicks off with the opening session (1:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7), when FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling discusses safety in trucking.

Also, the conference offers valuable networking opportunities among those who value gender diversity in the industry. In addition, there are more than 30 sessions on important transportation issues and trends. Drive My Way’s own Beth Potratz, the company’s president and CEO, will participate in one of those sessions, “Secrets to Successful Mentoring and Why It’s So Important.”

Expect engaging discussion about how women can:

  • Use mentoring to their advantage
  • Why some programs work and others don’t
  • What types of mentoring are available for new female drivers
  • And more

“I’m excited to be part of this important women-focused conference,” Potratz says. “As a woman-owned business in the trucking industry, Drive My Way is proud to be represented at Accelerate! and be part of a conversation that fosters the success of women in CDL trucking jobs.”

If you’re a truck driver looking for a job that fits your qualifications and lifestyle, visit us at Booth 607.

Drive My Way matchmakers will be on hand to answer your questions and help you register on DriveMyWay.com. Therefore, you can get one step closer to landing the best job for you.

Are you a woman driver on social media? Be part of the show’s conversation with the hashtag #WIT16. Can’t make the conference? Follow us on Facebook here and stay up to date on all the latest trucking job opportunities that can help you grow your career in the industry, regardless of your gender.

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